tv Disappearance of World War II Bomber Crew CSPAN January 23, 2016 6:50pm-8:01pm EST
to university and greater numbers than -- and greater numbers than men -- in greater numbers than men. the women will cut you that this is -- the women will tell you --t this that to be out of the home their families will support. onwatch every weekend c-span2, television for readers. and authorurnalists greg jones, discusses the mystery of the disappearance of a bomber named jerks natural. conducted months his upcomingor
book. the library of congress hosted this event. >> today's program is titled the last mission, the legacy of a lost world war bomber crew. it features author craig jones -- greg jones. this is a unique fellowship that allows an experienced and writer to work on an ambitious writing project. is ambitious and d. he has spent a quarter of a together theng disappearance.
greg has aere, personal connection to the story. he has traced the lies of servicemen and situated them in a larger -- and reflected on his own personal journeys to southern austria. he is here to give information. he is been a journalist for more than 30 years. he is the author of honor in the dust. on --tand that case and red revolution, which was a finalist for the pulitzer prize. he's been a staff writer for the los angeles times and he is covered the philippines for the washington post, and the
guardian. pakistan androm has traveled to afghanistan, the search for osama bin laden, and tora bora. he is currently be black mountain fellow working on his loss crewk about the of a world war ii bomber. i will start off with the first question and greg will take it from there. so, welcome sir. the story has a personal let's talkfor you about what that personal connection is and how you became aware. before i answer,
there are several people i want to thank. i want to take the kludgy center , bob patrick, megan harris. they do great work to preserve the stories of our nation's veterans. megan has been very helpful in my research. also, the kludgy center has been my home for the last three months. this has been an extraordinary place. as jason noted, i come for me journalism side of the world and that tends to be a shabbier side of the street. being able to walk in this magnificent building for the last three months has been pleasurable. it is been an even greater
pleasure by the environment that has been created here at the kludgy center. staff, top to bottom has made this a marvelous place to do work. and i want to thank the scholars and fellows with whom i shared this space the last few months. warm,ly amazing, inspiring, intimidating lease intimidatingly smart.
one thing i want to note, is that it was my journalism work that was a finalist for the pulitzer prize. i have some images that i want to share and this may not be entirely cmis, but i think -- entirely seamless, but i think worth sharing. it is a personal connection and how this has been in my life. i grew up with -- looking at this image, this photograph that you see there. and much kept a small less crisp print of this on her bedroom dresser when i was growing up. my early memory of this was i was probably 12 or 13.
and askingworking her about it. my mother did not have a lot of tax about this -- back about s aboutotograph -- fact this photograph. the person in the lower name was quarter's l.h. white. she knew the crew disappeared on october 1, 1943. the on that, she do not know a lot. there were questions as to whether or not they had been found. whether any of the men had been found, but there was one other twist. there was a survivor. my mother did not know much about him, but that obviously
begs the question of how was there one survivor and how was it that the other men were not bound or did not come back? -- were not bound or did not ore back -- were not found did not come back? brought world war ii ally for me, but there was also this saga of sadness and mystery. thing that started me on this journey, i mother mentioned to me that she had a box of my uncles personal effects. this box had been left to my grandfather. a man by the name of floyd white.
when he passed away in 1977, he mother.he box to my i found the box. i member it was a winter night and i sat on the floor with this box, i took each item out piece by piece. there was a leather flight suit, cap, jacket, pants, boots, and gloves. there was a camera, binoculars, radio repair manual. some letters from the war department and they were from department that were written to my grandfather. there was a cigar box inside. inside that were several letters and they were the final letters that my uncle l.jh. father.ten his
and there were letters my grandfather had written to l.h.. each letter was " return to sender, missing in action." they had been returned and had never been opened. so, i opened those letters and read them. and there was nothing especially profound that my grandfather -- not an educated man. prosaic descriptions of, he was a small farmer and a livestock trader. so, talking about the fall harvest and what was going on with my mother and her next oldest sister. they were the two youngest children at home. then the final letter that he wrote that at this point he had received the missing in action taliban, w -- in action
telegram which arrived a month after the crew disappeared. he was trying to be upbeat. me there wasame ti this anguish, despair and concern that it just had a remarkable effect. and i just really i think was gripped with this saga. and even as a 15-year-old, it was an experience i'll never forget and started me on this journey. host: as a high school senior, you wrote a novella about this mission. mr. jones: irright. when i was a 10th grader, i had a history fair project on the crew. the crew is fun. these men were assigned to a
b-24 liberator group. it was part of the 8th air force, the 93rd bomb group part of the secondary division which was within the 8t air force. -24 liberators were the utility players of the 8th air force. they were based in england but were sent to north africa on temporary duty on three occasions in 1942 and 1943. and so, the crew had actually flown the famours low level of august 1, 1943. they were flying through airbases around benghazi, libya, in the desert. i actually have, this is -- this would have been what it looks like for the crew. they literally were flying in at smokestack level on this raid.
and it was an extraordinary casualty rate. northrcraft took off from africa and about 1/3 didn't return. so i did this project that featured the crew and told the story of the rate. two years later as a senior in high school, i tried to, i wrote a fictionalized account of what had happened, what i imagined had happened to the crew. so, that was really my first attempt to try to start understanding and telling the story. host: then that led to a larger investigation and how did that unfold? mr. jones: i had become a journalist. my love of history is what led me into journalism. foreign, freelance
foreign correspondent in southeast asia and mexico. six yearsack from overseas. in early 1990i was visiting my parents in southeast missouri. and i went to my mother's closet and i got that box, my uncle's personal effects out. just like that night it was 15 years after the night i had first gone through it. so, i went through this box item by item. and i was taking notes this time, and going through the documents. werehere, the documents documents like this. this was a letter the squadron man byer, a much beloved the name of joseph tate had written my grandfather in december, 1943. the crew had been missing six
weeks at that point. two days after joseph tapte wrote this letter, he disappeared and was shot down over germany. been notifiedave your site was missing in action on october, 1943. other than this, we have received no further official information. if we do, you can be sure we will not fail to notify you immediately within the bounds of censorship." first paragraph. so, in this box that there were letters like this but there really, again, there was such a derth of details. but one document that was in there in addition to this was a think weddresses and i may be locked up. hopefully that will come.
but the 1943 addresses. what they would do was they crew l isist all the members, list next of kin and send that to the family so the families could correspond with one another, try to keep each other spirits up in the absence of information. is list had been circulated to all the families, and they began corresponding with one another. they had stayed in close contact for a number of years. in many casesied and families drifted apart. but i found this. and i decided that i would try to track down the families. so, i started writing the
hometown newspapers. this was still the internet and e-mail, widespread access was s till a few years away. which dates me. your best way to found somebody was to write the newspaper. i wrote to the editor. that wentthe crew down over austria in october 1, 1943. i'm looking for the air men from this hometown. so, i wrote all the hometown newspapers. the gunner and flight engineer was from los angeles. i noticed his name was armenian. i figured it would be hard to find somebody by writing the newspaper in los angeles. orthodoxhe armenian church publications. iling freedom of
information act requests with the pentagon with the national personnel records center. and i also started writing newspapers in austria. at the same time, i joined a group of veterans as an associate member. i joined the second air division association. and got the membership list and started sending out hundreds of letters to men who had flown with the 93rd, the 44th and the 389 were the three groups flying on these missions on the temporary duty and north africa. and so, all these letters started to arrive. host: you actually got letters back. mr. jones: within days, i started hearing from the first family members. and just rapidly and exponentially, my knowledge of who these men were and their
time in combat was really greatly enhanced. is just to -- i'll show you a couple of photographs here. these were the guys in training. so, i started to learn more about -- i wanted to understand what they went through, how they became a crew. i went to, i started going to the national archives. whenwas in the dayass world war ii records were downtown and that suitland, maryland. before the magnificent colle ge park facility was opened. so, i was pulling sortie reports. i was finding everything i could to piece together. i also went to the air force historical resource center at
maxwell air force base in alabama. learned a lot about the training and the extraordinary pressure there was to turn out bomber crews. really astonishing fact that there were 15,000 deaths in training accidents, airmen during world war ii. 15,000 in the u.s. me.hat number astonished but when i read these documents i started to understand why they had green pilots. a shortage of 100 octane aviation fuel. host: let's talk about the crew. who were these guys, where were they from? tell us more. mr. jones: it was a cross section. segregation soe they all were white or hispanic.
and but really covered the gamut of city boys and country boys that there was the son of a wealthy new york city manhattan businessman who had gone to columbia university. the father had. and there were a number of immigrants in the group that my uncle was in the back, the far right. next to him is jack casp arian, the son of armenian immigrants. phil -- was from marion, indiana. the other two men were on the rewcrew, for there was a lot of churn before they went overseas. they, men going awol. and having a bit too much to
drink and things like that. and so, some sometimes -- were here and then they were gone. this is the plane i did want to mention this. something that threw me from that photo. you made it the the name was war of avion on the plane. that was not the plane that was not the plane they were flying. i was puzzled for a long time why they posed in front of that. that was known as an assembly ship. a worn out aircraft. that would take off and then would start rotating and would rallying point for the other aircraft that would take off on a mission. so, usually they would be painted garish colors and th ings. so they could be distinguished. the other planes would take off and fall into formation. my uncle's crew, the pilot was
william stein, the son of lithuanian immigrants,a brown university economics graduate. i'll point him out when i shift over to the crew photo, but this will tell you something about this aircraft. they inherit an aircraft called jerks natural. this is a beautiful photograph taken in england. the name is distinctive and i'm sure you are scratching your head as to how it got this odd sounding name. the jerk was the nickname for the pilot. this was a reference to a soda jerk, which soda shops were popular at the time. to dispense carbonated water you andthis lever would jerk create carbonated drinks. and shakes and things like that. and so, john -- was the pilot who, athe first pilot in this
aircraft. his nickname was the jerk. the tale -- tail number was 23711. 41-23711. in dice games, which were popular with men in the service, 11 was a cervery protruded ro - fortuitous roll. hence jerk's natural. this was the aircraft my uncle crew was the first wave of replacement crews that have gone to england inma may of 1943. the plane had seen a lot of action by that time. host: one quick anecdote or side fact. you had mentioned when we talked last week that was it treadwell,, one of the guys was quite a character? clowning around? mr. jones: let me try to find
those photographs. phil beadwell. bear with me while i -- th photographs. he was this marvelous characterese. he was from indiana. he wore his flight cap. turned the bill up and painted hoosier on the cap. party.the lift oe of the he looked to play drums. he had a sister. i have to mention her, barbara, who is still alive, around 90 years of age. barbara has been an extraordinary partner in t his. one of the first people to get in touch. they had this magnificent collection of photographs that barbara and phil's mother,
mother and father, grant and ava this corn fed, indiana small city of marion. eva was known by the nickname of maude. she doted on phil. mischievous but very thoughtful and sensitive and sweet guy. but always doing wacky things. but hey had all -- they had all these photographs and a lot of letters and things that just aided me in my search. host: let's talk about the context in which this is happening which is an important part of your project. 1943. there is discussion about what the strategy for the air campaign should be in europe. questions of daylight bombings and the risk associated with that. european strategies versus american strategies. how did that factor in?
mr. jones: absolutely. and this is something i want to scroll back to. i have a photograph of henry arnold the air force commander in chief on the right. that's ira acre on the left who commanded the 8th air force from december 1942 to december 1943. aker was a longtime subordinate books-authored a couple before the war and military aviation. for thed war ii, army-air forces was seen as this huge opportunity to finally prove they were worthy of being an independent service, a service that could escape the tyranny of the navy and the army, which always gave them short shrift in budgeting times. so, in the 1920's and 1930's,
all these disciples of billy mitchell, who was the afather of american air power, who emerged from world war i and started to develop the doctrine of calming as a divisive -- a decisive force and warfare. this doctrine of daylight bombing immersed in the 1930's. arnold became a proponent of it. aker and several other of their associates. they were collectively known, the men who had drafted this, the bomber mafia. to provehey wanted that daylight bombing would work. the british when the americans enter the war warned hap arnold, that you cannot do it. tried a time
bombing and gone to nighttime bombing, which was essentially a fly over a city and drop your bobmbs. the british could justified by saying you had factory workers there. therefore, we're hitting a military target. in theory, the american daylight precision bombing would be more accurate and would be more hu mane. there was also some parochial interests that come into play. that fascinated me because it gets into the exercise, the power. and not just the convictions of the bomber mafia that this could be done but also the sne ense this is our opportunity to create an independent air force. arnold was determined to keep pushing deeper raids into europe in 1943, into germany. even though they did not have really the critical mass in
terms of numbers of bombers that were needed at that time. failingsf the gretat is they had not developed long-range fighter escorts to escort the bombers into germany. hadld and the bomber mafia a saying "the bomber will always get through." they were convinced that mass bombers at that point, 10 machine guns on each aircraft, could fend off any german fighters. good military any force would, changed tactics and started bringing down large number of bombers. but arnold kept pressuring aker. you need to field more missions, larger missions, keep pushing them deeper into germany. and this ultimately led to a lot of deaths. casualties soared through the summer and fall of 1943. my uncle's crew was one of those
crews that was shot down. as a results of the prosecution of this without the long-range fighters. host: let's talk about the summer and fall of 1943. your uncle's crew was first involved in a rescue raid. there, and maybe tell us about their experience during that famous raid. i mentioneds before, it was an extraordinary thing, terrifying event, because the aircraft flew in at nearly zero altitude. my uncle's crew, actually the williamerk's natural stein slid into the copilot's seat. their copilot had fallen ill in the desert camp. so he flew as copilot.
cleveland hickman from northern california flew the aircraft. they flew in over the target with the other aircraft in the 93rd bomb group. in fact, their small group of aircraft was led by ramzi potts. ramzi potts was a long time washington, d.c., lawyer. very prominent man. and an a compass pilot and -- accomplished pilot and college athlete before the war. my uncle's crew actually survived this raid but they were shot up over the target. they were losing fuel. they had two engines damaged. they were not going to make it back to the base i benghazin in the desert of north africa. so they made an emergency on the at -- sicily southeastern peninsula in sicily, which had just been --
the sicily invasion had just happened three weeks earlier on july 10. so, the biritish had just taken that area. they landed at an airstrip that british spitfire unit had taken over. you can a magic, they'd been in the plane for 10-12 hours. they had seen planes with men they knew blowing up around them. lowjumping out of planes at altitude on fire. it was really just unspeakable carnage that they witnessed and experienced. and the bombardier, this beautiful soul from oakland, california, guy by the name of john mcdonough and i hope to ta lk more about him later, but john was climbed out of the aircraft and was physically ill.
hanging on the nose whee for the better part of anl hour. of the cis because one rew members that was on that raid, he left shortly afterward. crewther men also left the there were so traumatized by it they took themselves off-line status. this one eyewitness that describes this to me continued on flying status, but it was just something that, it's really hard to imagine what it was like. and how traumatic that would have been. host: and so, they survive that dangerous raid. they, i think you told me they got a chance to go to england for a little bit and enjoy themselves. maybe a little bit of reprieve in august of 1943 but then they
were back at it again fly more missions in the fall. and maybe you could now tell us about the fateful mission, the one they did not get back from. mr. jones: they had flown a few missions after the raid. then the b-24 groups were shifted back to england. the men got leave. went to london for some r&r. they flew a couple of missions out of england in early september. in the middle of the month, world war ii historians in a salernoat was the landing on the italian mainland which happened in september. the beachhead was in peril almost immediately. there was a concern the germans would overrun it. they rushed the b-24 groups back down to north africa. this time to tuni tunisias, by the time they got there the
allied landing forces had broken out. so, the crews started flying missions against targets further up the italian mainland, hitting rail heads and that sort of thing, trying to rush german reinforcements down. they flew those missions without incident and that was one final mission they were going to fly. and it was a very long mission to austria. it was a factory that was the s ource of the second-most important factory that was waffe'sturing the luft frontline fighter plane. this is 30 miles south of vienna. so, they took off early on the morning of october 1, 1943. flew across the mediterranean, adriatic,ly, the
yugoslavia. then they turned north. east.truck -- from the it was during thiss raid that ofuncle's crew fell out formation and that was the last they were seen by the other crews in the 93rd. the 93rd that was the only aircraft they lost that day. the 44th got hit very hard by german fighters. as toere was this mystery what happened to the stein crew. host: what was conveyed to the families in the aftermath of this disappearance? mr. jones: it took about three to four weeks before the disappearance of this crew worked its way up through the
echelons in the. armed forces. out ia telegrams were sent on november 3 and november 4, 1943. at this point, the families were given just the essential information. that they were on this raid a disappeared over austria. nwithin a week, one of the families received a telegram notifying them that their son had been confirmed as a prisoner of war of the germans. this was the navigator william from eastern pennsylvania. he is the second from the right and was the navigator. no information or details were provided. pow.ust that one man was a in that situation, all the families obviously were hoping for the best.
the fact that one was a pow gave great hope. it was something they could hang onto to cling to. pow,e man got out as a them probably the others got out. so, families started to write each other. and exchanging bits of information, but there was no official information. the letter from the squadron commander, which came six weeks later in late december, noted that there was no additional information. so, the families went through this long period of hoping for the best. there was the hope that perhaps partisanswith tito's in yugoslavia which were getting a lot of publicity in american papers at the time. and southern austria was very close. and tito's partisans were operating in southern austria. hopehere waws thies great
that they were going to come home still i. i mentioned at wealthy manhattan businessman. he was working his contacts and he had a friend who was a ham radio operator. amateurish your operators monitoring shortwave broadcasts was popular at the time. they were monitoring german shortwave broadcast to try to hear pow listings, new pow's would be announced. and so, at one point in early 1944 this gentleman in new york, my stats, wrote grandfather telling my grandfather that his friend the ham radio operator had heard my uncles name read on a german shortwave broadcasting had been listed as a prisoner of war. and so, you can imagine the
hopes that the family had. but they waited and waited for official confirmation. and no confirmation ever came. 10-15 minuteshe we have left we can shift to the aftermath. your interaction with the families and the closing of this, of some of these missing pieces of information. i think you had said it was so that they49 or actually found some remains in austria? five years after the war. maybe you can talk about that> mr. jones: right. absolutely. this was more information came out. this was 1945. the survivor was held -- the "the greatcamp where escape" happened in the spring, 1944. he wrote a statement in november
1945. the family members had all called, written, some had gone get additional information. there was never much he had to say other than the fact they had lost a cuople engin-- couple engines, fallen out of formation and had been ambushed by three german fighters. he parachuted out and later in the day when he was on the farmerssome austrian had shown him watches and rings that he recognized as those of his crewmates. that was all the information he had. and so, the families were wr iting the army air forces declaredhe men were presumptively killed in action a year and a day after they went missing. that was the law. inaumptive ki finding
1944. but there was no information. so the family essentially disregarded that. the finally, in 1949 anilies were notified that identified set of remains that had been exhumed in austria had been identified as those of your son and 8 comrades. there was no detail, no explanation, no really explanation as to how that finding was made. where the remains had been recovered and that sort of thing. so, it was an extraordinary how little information was given to the families. few received a telegram a weeks later saying there is going to be a funeral on march 15, 19 50 at jefferson barracks in st. louis. so the families showed upat jefferson barracks.
inthis photograph, it shows this was actually the first load of remains coming back from europe in 1947. so, there was this great effort to find all of these graves around the world. and identify them and then bring home the remains. on from 1947going until you had you how all these group identifications that were the final ones. and that was the case with this missing aircrew. saw is what the families when they showed up at jefferson barracks. marchional cemetery on 13, 1950. nore was one coffin, explanation. one coffin. and that was a terrible shock to the families that they were puzzled. they were, some were angry
and almost to a person they were convinced the men had not really been found. that the government had just done this to get them off their backs or to close the books on this case, dismissing crew. and so, a funeral which should have been something that gave the culmination of this suspended grieving process for the families, didn't do that at all. it raised more questions in the minds of the families. and it was just a terribly this ordealtone to that had gone on for seven years at that point. host: let's talk a little bit about the families. what has become of these families since 1950 and how have you interacted with them,
interviewed them, spoken with them as part of your research to piece this altogether? mr. jones: when i started hearing from the families, it was an extraordinary thing, to reestablish that context that had existed 50 years earlier. and then had been severed. and it was, i was immediately struck -- and i really was very interested in seeing that all the families had gone through something very similar. and the process, what happens to families of the missing. scholar a researcher in the 1970's started looking at cases uniques and sort of the process and the suspending grieving process that families of the missing go through. sh came up with the terme "
ambiguous loss" and " frozen grief." that describes perfectly what i learned about my mother and her siblings. and these toher families as well -- these other families as well. i could not get past that for a long time of sort of the tragic aspects of it. and really the shattering aspects of it. so, i sort of missed the fact thisthe stories of beautiful, amazing strength. the sisters, so much fell on the sisters in these families. the mothers in most cases were quite devastated. the sisters were as well, but it amazing to me what they were juggling, many of them were married and had children. yet they helping to keep the families together. to at the same time, try
deal with this situation they find themselves in of do we give up hope? do we grieve? is that betraying our missing loved one? do we wait? all of these families had gone through this really terrible process. these on had all questions. for me, that became just the most fulfilling thing for this whole journey was, a s i was finding out things, getting things from the freedom information act request, from going to austria and doing interviews with people there and finding eyewitnesses who actually saw the aircraft as it was attempting an emergency be able toat to share that with the families and to be able to answer the questions of had they possibly
lift? there were all these fantasies families ofmmon to the missing, whether it is kidnap victim or an mia in wartime of they have had a head injury. they have amnesia. all of these things to really push off the idea that they are really gone. a reallyjust been beautiful process for me to be able to share that information before many of these people passed away. and to as are of the questions that they had,. which had haunted them for so many years few minutesy have a left. i do want to briefly touch on your visits to austria. you actually went to the site where the plane had come down. you have some photographs, i think. mr. jones: one day and the fall of 1991i sent out all these letters. and a brown envelope arrived in
the mail. i immediately saw it was not an envelope that we use in the u.s. and i just sensed what it was and what was in it. i opened it up and there was this extraordinary photograph. and it was sent to me by this young man in the photograph who by this time was an older man who was an engineer with se imens in germany. policeher had been the chief in a town 10 miles away. this is a huge event when this aircraft had come down in their midst, had attempted this landing and had crashed during the landing. and so, his father had brought him over. people were coming from miles around. with the last roll of film his father had come he took this photograph of the wreckage of this aircraft.
of so manyone partial experience i have had to actually hold that photograph in my hands. then to is it that spot and to go to that place was amazing and to talk to a young man who was nearly struck by the plane when it was coming in. and it was painful as well, because they came so close. they had gotten the plane back onto control. this isflying low -- the alps, the alpine foothills, 2500 feet. but it was an extraordinary feat of piloting to get an aircraft that had lost three engines on the same side under control. get it leveled off after going into a spin. i interview a number of b 24 pilots are described how difficult that would be.
and they nearly made it, which was heartbreaking. but the people in the village were amazingly helpful. and i forged beautiful relationships there. that kimye found all but one of the families, and we were corresponding -- by that time i have found all but one of the families. we had gathered together to put up a memorial at the crash site. this was the ceremony in 1996. this is the memorial. the lady on the right is barbara bedwell, the sister of phil bed well who has been such an extraordinary partner with me in this journey. and.it is a beautiful spot i've been there. the terrain.
it is an incredibly powerful experience. host: i do want to allow audience members to ask a question to her we do that, you have been working on this now -- thinking and working on it almost her entire life. , what, where is it now? what is the library of congress enabling you to do? what holes are you filling in now that you had not already pieced together? mr. jones: i'm sad to say that i'm getting my car and driving away from here tomorrow. it has been an amazing experience. but it has allowed me to add death and historical context and really a greater understanding uncle'sny facets of my life from learning about what it was like to be a kadant farmer. -- cotton farmer. in the early 1930's.
learning more about the historical context in austria , conflictedured soul of that country. and also the chance to go arnold's personal papers which i spent my final days here doing, which is fascinating and sort of understanding the exercise of power in these life-and-death decisions, which, incidentally, did not affect henry hap arnold that much. the jarring to see sort of a senior commander can separate themselves with a loss of men like that. i cannot say enough about how just being able to think about this on a daily basis and to immerse myself in so many different aspects of it has
enriched it in ways i cannot begin to explain. host: with that, we have time for a couple of questions from the audience. if anyone has any questions for gregg about the project or the men, about his work, we would be happy to take them. i believe we have a microphone. >> hi. did you find out any more information about the surviving crew member who parachuted and why others didn't? thenow that the 24's ver -- cramped quarters. why didn't other people jump? or just questions like -- did he, were you ever able to contact him and get more information from him? mr. jones: i found him in the final years of his life. he was in the early stages of
parkinson's, but i was writing him through his wife. the answers that were coming back were spot on. so, it was remarkable. clearly, these things he knew. he remember the pilot was a brown university graduate and things like that. i did not get any more information in that statement that he wrote in 1945 about what happened. -- the he explained it navigator and bomb near -- he got his parachute on. dropped through the nose wheel hatch. the pilot did not press the bailout gun. the pot that was the commander. he did not give the order to bailout. e pilot was the commander. so there is that. the other men, i think because the order had not been given, the explanation of the survivor
was that the plane went into a spin and the implication was they could not get out. as my reporting on the ground determined that in fact they had tried to land at another spot, i have a police report from that other, that area where they tried to land and then circled back and tried to land in a meadow where the crash occurred. re flying under control at that point but without a navigator, did that have an impact? that is a question i've always had. i'll never know. [inaudible] mr. jones: he passed away in the mid-1990's. i got to know his wife. i'm still in touch with his son. i've talks with his sons. lovely family. he went on, he left the air force but went back in and flew in korea and to vietnam and
retired around 1970 from the air force. host: other questions? wait for the mic. >> this is wonderful to hear. book.t wait to read the one thing it calls to mind is just a couple days ago, i think it was the anniversary of pearl harbor, there was an article about uss oklahoma where i guess a number of servicemen had been entombed within the ship. their remains were dug up around the same time -- 1946 or 1947 or something. similarly to your story they were jumbled together. lacereturned to a resting p and is unsatisfactory way. just recently, and this is why it was in the post, forensic people have begun using i guess
the technology that is available to identify the remains. i am wondering if anything like that has happened or if there has been any subsequent development with that gravesite? mr. jones: great question. e document that used the term combing gold remains that was shared with the remains.- comingled the process was never explained. go deeply into this. there was a central identification point created in europe at strasburg, france. as graves were exhumed in that process, the postwar 1946, 1947 they would be taken to the central identification point. my theory, i want to dig deeper into this to see if i can find documents, is i think there was such pressure, budgetary, cold w was deepening by the late
1940's this was taking, they were a year behind schedule and the whole repatriation program. the pressure was on. wrap it up. i think where you had these airc i do not offer -- and mean to be callous about it -- the men who are doing this work, but i think that offered an easy comingled remains. we can eliminate 5,678, maybe 10 mia's write there. att of those were buried jefferson farfan st. louis because that was a central location. no doubt in my mind after reporting i had done that this was a crew, that was the crash site i found. t could've been much more shared with the families that i think could of spoken. ose questions that
haunted the parents to their dying days. and the surviving siblings as well. host: i think we have time for one more question if there is one. thank you for that and for the research. you mentioned a number of deaths during the training. you did not focus very much on the likelihood of returning from daytime bombing runs. i imagine that those stats would be pretty depressing. i wonder if in talking to relatives and those who flew such missions whether you got a sense of their expectations for survival. how far away from suicide missions were some of these bomber runs? mr. jones: good question. the casualty rates were high and rising.
the fall ofuring 1943 when there started to be some pushback on these casualty rates that, he actually made a comment to reporters thatwe're prepared to take up to 25% casually rates. -- casualty rates.that did not very aker. very well with ira who did not challenge hap arnolds very often. he wrote arnold and said this is not helpful. so, in reading the letters and i have hundreds of letters from the, from all of the families. to be very upbeat with the families. they were very kind. the families were following things in the papers.
telegram to his family saying, just wanted to let you know. i'm well. he cannot say why. he assumed they were following the papers and they knew. because of censorship, the letters will be sensitive they talked about military things. cannot really get that sense of the men, but certainly there was a despondency in that fall period of 1943. the chances of coming back or something not very good. our was 25 missions then. i talked to some men when i was interviewing air men who said, i never doubted i would come back but others were fatalistic and said, i just got into the plane and whatever happened happened. i remember, i vividly
remember world war ii veteran i interviewed years ago who told me he was in the army air forces and told me his commanding guys totold he and two step out of the line and he said look to the right and left of you. two out of three of you are not coming back. so -- we are running out of time. the title of the talk is the legacy of this world war ii bomber crew. thought,a concluding your reflections on what the legacy of these men is. mr. jones: and i want to flash this photograph, as i quickly do that, of, this was obama dear bombardierugh -- the john mcdonagh. he was a writer. he attended cal berkeley. such tremendous promise. young death is one of the
saddest things. and wartime, that is something that is always -- has always gripped me about this. i ultimately came to see the inspiring story of the resilience of the human spirit, the strength of the family members left behind. not all of them. some of them were damaged and never really recovered. havet, the ways they honored and to this day continued to try to honor the photographsese men, remembering them on memorial day. comments on websites or things like that. it is a powerful thing. and as heartbreaking and tragic as this was for all the s somethingt i beautiful just to see the strength of the human spirit. and i think that is for me what
ultimately prevails. host: i think on that we will have to stop it there. please join me in thanking gregg jones. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> you are watching american history tv, al weekend every weekend on c-spanl 3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook. on december 16, 1773, thousands of massachusetts colonists gathered at old south meeting house in boston to discuss a shipment of british tea that had recently arrived. the arrival escalated in existing debate over the new tea tax. the sons of liberty led an effort to protest the new measure. after the debate, colonist marched to griffin's wharf and
dumped the tea into boston harbor. here is a preview of the re-created scene recorded recently in boston. though the talk as consignees were bought passiveness of the kings well. it was not so long ago that we spoke with one voice against the king's taxes. ant last week did he refuse invitation to stop these matters in a civil manner. they are as guilty as parliament itself! >> order! you speak as if u.n. your ruffian come patrons are the gentleman in this debate -- are theyour ruffians
judgment in this debate. by refusing to show their face even in a public meeting such as this. whoas it not you, sir, threatens my good friend mr. clarke for his wise refusal to meet with an unnamed crowd under your liberty tree? longt not you who not too led a mob that attacks the home of the lieutenant governor? >> order! ir, name a few of the other names that have been called by me who you sir -- >> order! gentlemen! by god, we will have order in this house!
>> watch the entire program saturday at 9:10 p.m. senior on c-span 3's american history tv. >> monday night on "the timbergators," craig joins us from stanford to discuss a series of articles for the post. e examines the creation of the internet, the founder's objectives, why security played such a small role for them and what cyber security issues face in and it uses today. hundreds andrs, millions of us now, we are forever choosing things other than security. we are choosing the speed, the performance, the features. and so, security, i don't know. it is somewhere between five and 10 on the list of the priorities of most software developers for whatever else they say. security experts will tell you security does not pay. >>
the of wisconsin madison professor jennifer rove and .agan -- rosen hagan she talks about authors herman margo and work products of 19th century moral code. her class is a little over an hour. ourhank you and welcome to lecture. nature as we know her is no saint. trial and to molt in melville's america. to put some that we give our papers. that is because a title announces what is at stake for a lease hopefully announces